Are you just starting out researching your family tree and do not know where to start? Have you been thinking about starting your family research and need a place to start logging information? Well I have an answer for you and it doesn’t even cost one red cent!
Wikitree.com offers one of the completely free genealogy sites I have mentioned before and with this post I will take a closer look at the site and show you what it has to offer. The good, the bad and the ugly so to speak! When I am finished, you’ll know what exactly it takes to create your very own free online family tree.
Wikitree – The Basics
Wikitree is a completely free online family tree and genealogy site. There are other free genealogy sites, but with this post I’ll just concentrate on Wikitree.com to give you a look at what it really has to offer.
First of all, you can create your free account and start making your free online family tree by entering the first person in your family tree….YOU! It all begins with you.
When you go to the Wikitree website, you’ll see this.
Setting Up Your Free Online Family Tree Through Wikitree.com
You’ll first want to sign up for your very own free account by hitting “Get Started (I have marked it with a purple arrow).” As you can see, Wikitree.com has over 18 million profiles within the databases and has contributions from over 560,000 genealogists! That is a lot of possibilities for connections!
The next screen you’ll see, after hitting the “Get Started” link, is this screen:
As you can see, this site is COMPLETELY FREE!! We all like stuff for free and if you’re interested in creating and maintaining your very own free online family tree, then Wikitree is a solution for you.
I already created my own free account a number of years ago so I’m going to go ahead and sign in and show you some benefits of the account.
Getting Started With Your Family Tree
When I’m logged on to my free online family tree account, I see the following picture.
This is an actual picture of my account and you can see a snippet of my very own family tree! There I am at the bottom, Chastity Ann Coburn and my parents above me and then my grandparents on both sides.
The first step, once you set up your free account, is to add yourself, your parents and then your grandparents.
Compiling Information For Your Family Tree
Once you have set your free online account up and added yourself, your parents and your grandparents, you can add any other family members you actually know. Add your aunts and uncles, cousins, your children, etc. This is all time-consuming, but easy. The real fun begins once this is all set up!
After finishing with everyone you know, at least all the people you can connect the dots with, you can start to compile information on those you don’t know.
What I mean, by the people you can connect the dots with, is that you wouldn’t want to add someone you do not know the relation with. I recently came into contact with a member of my family that is in a section of the family which was long-lost when my grandfather moved from Kentucky to Michigan when my dad was young. My grandfather’s siblings remained in Kentucky and had children and their children had children and so on. The result was a whole branch of the family my dad and I didn’t know!
We came into contact with the granddaughter of one of my grandfather’s brothers through Facebook and I knew her name, but not how she was related to me exactly. Of course I knew she was a cousin, just not exactly who her parents are and how she fit into the family tree. So adding her without that information would not have helped at all. I worked backwards starting with what information my dad had on his dad’s brothers and then searched for their children and grandchildren until I figured out exactly how she fit into my family tree, and then I added her!
Researching Your Family Tree
To start researching, you’ll first want to compile as much information as you possibly can. Talk to your older relatives still living. I am at a disadvantage here as many are no longer living and those that are had few memories. But whatever information you are given, write it all down.
Jot down names and nicknames, birthdays, death dates, locations the people lived, etc. Whatever you can find out just jot it all down. Enter into your tree whatever information you can and use that as a basis for research.
In my case, I could only find out my grandparents names, date of births, all of my immediate aunts and uncles names and a lot of their children’s’ names. My grandfather on my dad’s side had 4 children prior to marrying my grandmother and my dad could not remember all of their names. The children were considerably older and were never around my dad and his other siblings very much at all.
It took some time and persistence, but I have found all of their names and located other members of their families for my family tree.
The more information you have the better and easier your research will be. Names and dates help to narrow down similar people within searches so that you can add accurate information to your free online family tree file.
Is Wikitree Right For You?
So is Wikitree the right option for you? That depends on you and what your life looks like. There are other free options out there, as well as paid options. I have used Wikitree personally for some years now and find it helpful. It is relatively user-friendly for computer novices.
I think it is a great starter program for new researchers and a great option for those looking to research for free. It is pretty easy to maneuver and search. I like the way the profile sheets for each individual look. I also like the way it automatically tells you about potential matches within the database when you enter a name. Wikitree is a great option for researching on a budget.
Thank you for reading my post and I look forward to hearing from you with any comments or questions!